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IBM PVU licensing

Learn about IBM PVU licensing in SAM Core on Snow Atlas.


The Processor Value Unit (PVU) is a unit of measure by which an IBM software can be licensed. The number of required PVU entitlements is based on the processor model and the number of processors made available to the software. IBM continues to define a processor, for the purpose of PVU based licensing, to be each processor core on a chip (socket). For example, a dual-core processor chip has two processor cores.

The IBM PVU licensing is managed by the PVU metric, which is defined to use the PVU values of the computers as a basis in compliance calculations.

The IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) automatically determines the required PVU for each computer, as part of the inventory of the machine. This information can be automatically integrated with SAM Core on Snow Atlas to define which PVU value to use for each installation. Integration of ILMT data is done using the Snow Integration Manager (SIM).

In SAM Core, information on PVU values can be found here:

  • On the Computer search page, add the column PVU per core from the Column selector.

  • On the details page of a selected computer, on the Information tab, see information on PVU per core.

Full capacity and Sub capacity

Some software products from IBM which are licensed based on the PVU metric and can be deployed in a virtualized server environment, can be licensed according to Full capacity or Sub capacity (virtualization capacity).

  • Full capacity

    The number of required PVU licenses is based on the physical core capacity of the server where the IBM software is installed, meaning every physical, activated processor core.

  • Sub capacity

    The number of required PVU licenses is based on the virtual core capacity of a partition or a virtual machine available to the IBM software.

The sum of all sub capacity requirements for the virtual machines cannot exceed the full capacity of the physical server hosting the virtual machines. Information on installations that are eligible for sub capacity licensing is gathered by ILMT and can be integrated with SAM Core using the Snow Integration Manager (SIM).


To be eligible for sub capacity licensing, all virtual machines of a host must be recognized by ILMT. Otherwise, the host needs to be licensed through full capacity licensing.

For information on software products, virtualization technologies, and processor technologies that are eligible for sub capacity licensing, refer to documentation from IBM.

Related alerts and reports in SAM Core

SAM Core will alert the SAM administrator on any licenses for IBM software that are registered with other metrics than PVU:

  • On the licenses Overview page and the alert There is [number] licenses with incompatible metrics for PVU licensed IBM applications.

SAM Core will alert the SAM administrator on computers that are running IBM applications with the metric PVU, but for which ILMT is lacking information:

  • On the computers Overview page and the alert There are [number] of computers with IBM PVU-based products installed without data from ILMT.

  • In the report Computers with IBM PVU based products without data from ILMT.